By Mike Keleher
Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was gunned down Tuesday, February 13, 2018 in the middle of the day, outside the Illinois Thompson Center by a four-time convicted felon who was purportedly wearing body armor.
Chicago Police tried to speak to the suspect on the street, but he fled on foot. Commander Bauer was in the area following some active shooter training about 2 PM and heard the call via his police radio. He rushed to confront the suspect single handedly, but was struck and killed by a volley of shots. The suspect was arrested at the scene in possession of a handgun by state and city police.
In the midst of this tragedy, we find Paul Bauer was a credit to his community and family. He was only 53 years old when he died and was a lifelong policeman in Chicago receiving 67 awards for extraordinary service. Bauer joined the CPD when he was just 21 years old. He served a distinguished career to include most recently being the Commander of the 18th Police District. He leaves a widow and teenage daughter behind. Commander Bauer is one of thirteen CPD officers shot and killed since 1998.
An obvious discredit to his community, the 44-year-old suspect (name intentionally omitted), began his felony convictions in 1998 with a felony armed robbery conviction and a 16-year prison sentence. In 2007 he was charged with being a felon in possession of body armor, in possession of a defaced firearm (altered or obliterated serial number) and possession of heroin-with a three-year prison sentence. In 2011, he was charged with resisting an officer and battery and received only 30 days of community service. In 2014, he was convicted of drug possession again and sentenced to two years in prison.
For anyone unfamiliar with the area where the shooting occurred, the 17-story tall James R. Thompson Building, host to 50 state agencies, is located in the middle of downtown business district Chicago at 100 West Randolph Street and near city hall. The area is densely populated and “should” be as safe as any day time metropolitan area in America at 2 PM in the afternoon.
Last week, Garry McCarthy, former CPD Police Superintendent, was quoted in the Chicago press on February 08, 2018 lambasting the crime rate in the city and runaway carjacking rates and blaming the Mayor. McCarthy was fired by the mayor in 2015 after the public and political pressure got too hot in the Laquan McDonald Case.
McCarthy may have been standing on his own political soapbox last week, and eyeing a run at the Mayor’s Office, but his comments came back to me yesterday with the violent death of Commander Bauer. McCarthy said “There’s shootings on Lake Shore Drive. Northwestern Hospital is getting hit with bullets. An off-duty Chicago cop gets carjacked in Bucktown at 12 o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday. People are constantly looking over their shoulders… There’s not part of the city that’s safe right now.”
God bless Commander Paul Bauer and his family. God bless the police and all those who run towards trouble to help save us all in this era of high media criticism and a very perceptible war on the police.